AdPR Week alumnus profile: Neil Hirsch (ABJ ’00)

In honor of AdPR Week, we are profiling select Grady College alumni who are using their Grady education in the creative industries they serve. In this series, they discuss their career paths and offer advice to current Grady students.

Neil Hirsch, APR, graduated from Grady College in 2000 with a degree in public relations.  He is the director of corporate external communications for the Americas at InterContinental Hotels Group. Hirsch was part of the inaugural Grady College AdPR Advisory Council in 2014.

Grady College: What are some of your everyday duties?

Neil Hirsch: I’m responsible for external communications for InterContinental Hotels Group across the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Latin America and the Caribbean. This includes corporate media relations, issues management and executive visibility.

GC: How did you get your start?

NH: My first full-time role after graduating from Grady was in a mid-size PR agency in Atlanta. It was a great place to start – you’ll never work alongside more PR professionals than in an agency environment.

GC: What skills did you learn at Grady that have helped you throughout your career?

NH: Grady provided me with a solid foundation for my career in public relations. Beyond what I learned in the classroom, it’s what I learned and the relationships I created through my involvement in PRSSA, Grady programs and my internships that distinguished me from my peers.

GC: Is there any additional advice that you’d like to give?

NH: Take every opportunity you have today to prepare you for your career. Ask questions. Make meaningful connections with professionals and with your peers. Have a vision for your future, but also be open-minded about where your career may take you.

 


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AdPR Week alumna profile: Jackie Herr (ABJ ’82)

In honor of AdPR Week, we are profiling select Grady College alumni who are using their Grady education in the creative industries they serve. In this series, they discuss their career paths and offer advice to current Grady students.

Jackie Herr, a 1982 advertising graduate, is the co-founder of PICFARI, LLC, a website and mobile app “that appeals to anyone who loves to travel and take photos.”

Herr is a longtime supporter of Grady College. She served on the Grady Board of Trust and is part of AdPR’s The Second Century Club, which is comprised of individuals who make an annual contribution to the AdPR Excellence Fund of $1,000 or more.

Grady College: Which courses or professors were most helpful in preparing you to work in the industry?

Jackie Herr: Professor Ron Lane’s Campaigns course was pivotal. He taught us the importance of knowing your audience, how to establish your presence, how to effectively communicate concepts and strategies in a meaningful, memorable and measurable way. This course really tied the ribbon around all the creative, strategy and research classes

GC: How did you get your start?

JH: During college, I worked for a radio station as a receptionist, DJ, copywriter, and sales-kind of a Jackie of all trades! After college, with Professor Lane’s help, I landed a job at an ad agency as a media buying assistant.

GC: What advice would like to give to students?

Engage and stay engaged with key professors, administrators, bosses, clients and colleagues. They form the basis of a very influential network of next jobs, next clients, and next opportunities. This is where you begin to establish your A-list network. I’m not talking about the hundreds you have in your social media networks, I’m talking about those key people in your life who will go out of their way to help you be successful and not just press the button on Facebook or on Instagram. This is usually a small, but very influential group. One of my best job connections came from a chance meeting with a media rep who had been kept waiting for over an hour to see one of my colleagues. I felt sorry for him and a simple conversation turned into a connection that led not only to my next job, but the source for amazing client referrals.

Work hard to get those internships, preferably before junior year. Demonstrate that you have a “go-getter” attitude. The more you engage now, the more successful you’ll be later in life.


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AdPR Week alumna profile: Melina Baetti (ABJ ’07)

In honor of AdPR Week, we are profiling Grady College alumni who are using their Grady education in the creative industries they serve. They discuss their career paths and offer advice to current Grady students.

Melina Baetti, a 2007 public relations graduate, is a manager of brand and business communications at The Coca-Cola Company.

Grady College: What are some of your everyday duties?

Melina Baetti: My role on the Brand PR team, part of our larger External Affairs team in Coca-Cola North America Public Affairs & Communications, is to help tell and amplify the story of our brands through a variety of PR programs and initiatives. That comes to life in many different ways on a daily basis—some days I’m writing a press release and reviewing media/influencer lists to target for our next program launch, other days I’m responding to media calls about a particular brand-related issue, which means drafting a statement, getting internal alignment, and then sharing it with the journalist (as well as following up and tracking coverage). I work with a slew of different internal team members across our marketing/brand teams, content and social teams, legal department and many others. The work changes day-to-day, which keeps things interesting!

GC: How did you get your start?

MB: The summer between my junior and senior year I applied and was selected for a PR internship at Coca-Cola North America. The internship is only offered to Grady College PR students. I spent that summer learning the ins and outs of PR at one of the best known companies and brands in the world. I also met and networked with many people that helped me get my first jobs and additional career opportunities, and eventually found my way back to Coca-Cola after spending five years working at a PR agency abroad (in Paris, France).

GC: What skills did you learn at Grady that have helped you throughout your career?

MB: The classes I took at Grady taught me to hone my writing skills, do research before planning a program, and also the importance of having attention to detail. In addition, being inquisitive and creative and going beyond what was right in front of you to make campaigns—from messaging to design— to stand out and break through. Almost all of those elements are key in my work today, and though our industry is constantly changing, leaning on those skills while continuing to learn and change along with my work has helped make me successful.

GC: Is there any additional advice that you’d like to give?

MB: Take time to build relationships with people around you. It may not seem like some people are connected to your work or will help you in the immediate, but in the long run, people will remember how you interact with them and your genuine interest in them as a person. Take time for lunch or coffee, to meet new people and to get to know them beyond their work.


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Grady College to celebrate AdPR week Sept. 25-29

The Grady College Department of Advertising and Public Relations announces its third annual week-long celebration of National AdPR Week at UGA, Sept. 25 – 29.

“AdPR Week at Grady is about celebrating our professions,”said Bryan Reber, head of the AdPR department. “This year we are focusing on global communication and women in leadership, two critical issues in advertising and public relations.  We are fortunate to have some real superstars coming to speak.”

The week, which coincides with National Advertising Week, will feature an engaging lineup of events packed with special presentations and professional development opportunities led by industry veterans. The first-ever AdPRide Games, an opportunity for students to celebrate their successes over breakfast and engage in friendly competition between advertising and public relations majors, will be the concluding event.

This year’s keynote speaker, Michael B. Goodman, Ph.D., is director of corporate communication international and professor at Baruch College, The City University of New York. He will deliver a talk on corporate communications from a global perspective.

On Tuesday, the UGA chapters of AdClubIABC and PRSSA are hosting a joint club meeting with special guest Tucker Sarkisian (ABJ ’00), PR director for SweetWater Brewing.

Wednesday features a Women’s Leadership Panel with several female industry professionals serving in a panel discussion led by Karen King. For more information about this event and to see a line-up of panel members, please visit the AdPR blog.

The Department of Advertising and Public Relations boasts national rankings, award-winning faculty and successful alumni who are changing the world of advertising and public relations by applying the knowledge they gained from a top-notch education at UGA.

AdPR pride will be shared on social media with the hashtag #AdPRide.

The schedule of events is as follows:

Monday, Sept. 25:

AdPR Vantage Point discussion: “Corporate Communication Around the Globe,” featuring Michael B. Goodman, Ph.D., director of corporate communication international and professor at Baruch College, The City University of New York, 10 a.m., Grady 412

Tuesday, Sept. 26:

Ad Club/PRSSA/IABC meeting: “Diverse Experience = Success with Tucker Berta Sarkisian (ABJ ’00), PR Director, SweetWater Brewing Company, 6 p.m. North PJ Auditorium

Chick-Fil-A spirit night, mention AdPR@UGA so that 10 percent of the evening’s sales will support our department, Beechwood Chick-Fil-A, 5 – 8 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 27:

Student Lunch —  (Reservation required) Round table discussion with panel members from Women’s Leadership Panel, noon, Peyton Anderson Forum

Women’s Leadership Panel — moderated by Grady College professor Karen King, 1:30 p.m., Peyton Anderson Forum. Top female advertising and PR industry executives will discuss the challenges and successes along their own path to leadership. Speakers include Solange Claudio (president, Moxie), Brooke Beach (ABJ ’11 — founder & CEO, MarketWake), Alicia Thompson (managing director, Porter Novelli) and Donna Speciale (president of ad sales, Turner).

Thursday, Sept. 28:

Social Media Mania:  Student and alumni #AdPRide photo contest. Post an industry specific photo of yourself (sitting at your desk, on an agency tour, during your summer internship experience, etc.) and a comment about why you are proud to be a student or alum of  Grady College Department of AdPR. Please use the hashtag #AdPRide.

Friday, Sept. 29 :

AdPR Games 2017 – Free donuts for AdPR students and an opportunity to co-mingle and express their #AdPRide, 10 a.m. – noon, Peyton Anderson Forum.  Come grab breakfast and challenge your friends to a game of corn hole, snap a festive pic in our photo booth, or watch friends and professors compete to see who can eat the most donut holes in 30 seconds!  There will be an overall competition for most participation between advertising and public relations majors.